Being an introvert is hard. It’s harder to go grocery shopping, go to the dentist, go to school, go get gas in your car (for those of you who are from Oregon), and do anything else that involves interacting with people.
Unfortunately, most times in life, things don’t just fall into our laps. We have to make them happen. Sometimes making things happen seems so overwhelming, we think we’d rather dig our own graves instead. But I want to talk about how you can make things happen in a way that might not exactly be 100% comfortable, but at least doable. You can be in publishing and be an introvert (and if you’re an extrovert looking for ways to get more involved in the business, these should help you too).
- The internet is your friend. Right now it’s National Novel Writing Month. Get on the Nano site and chat with people. You don’t have to look them in the eye or deal with their body motions. You just have to type. You can chat with writers through a safe medium. You can also get on Goodreads to talk about books with other people.
- For those of you who already have a novel written, query tracker is another excellent website to get on and talk with other authors. You don’t have to go through the querying process alone. Chat with authors querying the same agents, chat with authors writing in your genre!
- Go to book signings. You don’t have to talk to anyone. Just sit in the back and listen. Or make a friend go with you. Listen to how authors got their start in the business. Stay for the Q&A after the presentation to learn even more! Sometimes authors bring their publicists or other people from the publishing company with them. Go talk to these people. Make sure they know your name. Most people in the business are easily approachable, you just have to make the first move.
- Networking is difficult no matter what, but you can make it easier for yourself. Go to conferences. This can seem particularly daunting. There will be lots of people moving about. They all seem to know each other. They seem to have no trouble talking to each other. It’s not fair. But you can network too. Talk to the people sitting next to you at events. Book people are so friendly. And you already have something to talk about! How easy is it to ask “So what do you write?” After you get into the swing of things, start talking to the authors.
- If you don’t feel quite up to going to conferences just yet, talk to people in the bookstore. Seriously, talk to the people looking for books in the same aisles that you are. You already have the same interests. Start by asking them the last good book they read.
- Make friends with an extrovert. Get them to do the hard stuff.
- It’s easier to meet people when you know what to say. Get confident in publishing by doing your research. Read blog interviews with agents and editors. Get on Agent Query and look up all the information! Use twitter to keep tabs about what industry professionals are talking about.
- Take creative writing classes and do internships. Learning how to edit will help you learn how to be a better writer.
- Form critique groups. You can meet people at the websites I’ve already mentioned and through the other activities listed. Make friends so you don’t have to go places alone!
- Become familiar with the business side and the fun side. Learn what the agents, editors, publicists, marketers, bloggers, illustrators, and other publishing professionals do too. When you know the big picture, it helps with your writing. Learn a little about what to expect in a book contract. You can find these by doing an online search.
Know that the more you do these things, the easier it will get.